My Advice to Families About Early Decision & Early Action Plans

23 Mar, 2022


Understanding Early Decision & Early Action, Part Two

In my last blog, I set out to clarify some areas of confusion that many parents and students have about Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) plans.

In an effort to make it clearer still, here are some of the things I tell my students who are considering applying Early Decision or Early Action.

If you plan to apply early, get a head-start over the summer so that you can ‘hit the ground running’ when senior year starts. Get your essays mostly done, make sure to talk to teachers and counselors early about letters of recommendation, start filling in your Common Application, etc.

• Get information directly from the admissions staff as ED and EA plans vary from college to college.

• If you are thinking of applying for ED, you should thoroughly research colleges, and be sure of what you want, academically and socially. You can do this by reading their websites, taking virtual or in-person tours, speaking to past or present students, admissions representatives, etc.

• Any college you apply to ED should be your dream college! Don’t apply ED just to avoid the stress and the work involved.

• Make sure that you meet the admission profile for the college (most commonly found on colleges’ admissions pages) and that your academic record has been consistently good. Remember that colleges will only see your fall senior year grades if you apply early.

• Before sending in ED and EA applications, make sure that you have a plan for what you will do if you don’t get in. Prepare other applications as you wait for decisions – if you are rejected by the ED college, there are only two weeks left to send in other applications, and you don’t want to be scrambling and doing a rushed job.

Keep working hard and don’t succumb to ‘senioritis’! Colleges may rescind offers of admission if your senior year grades drop.

• ED and EA applicants must take the October SAT in order for these scores to make it to the college in time.


And, remember that you can hear back ‘early’ from colleges with rolling admissions. They evaluate applications as they are received, rather than waiting to evaluate all applications after a set deadline. Students applying to these colleges usually hear a decision between four to six weeks.


Emma Hoffman was born in New Zealand and has been living in the United States since 1996. A true ‘Third Culture Kid,” she grew up and was educated in six countries, including Hong Kong, Western Samoa, and Gibraltar. Emma therefore has first-hand experience of, and is particularly sensitive to, the educational and cultural challenges faced by children and families who are moving internationally. After graduating from King’s College, University of London, with a degree in law, Emma followed her true passion and earned a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of London, specializing in elementary education. She has dedicated the past twenty years to educating children in a number of capacities and has taught in public and private schools in the U.K. and the U.S. She currently tutors children across grade levels and subjects, also prepares students for U.S. standardized tests, including the S.S.A.T. and the S.A.T. Emma has a particular ardor and knack for getting kids to discover themselves through the writing of epic personal statements.


In case you missed our recent “Porch Talk” with Emma, you can watch the full interview here: “How To Approach the College Essay”

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